An adorable leopard cub has been seen taking its first steps outside the den at a UK wildlife park.
The 12-week-old Amur leopard was born in Europe in June, before being moved to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster.
The Amur leopard is said to be one of the rarest cats in the world, with only around 120 left in the wild.
This cute cub weighs around two to three kilograms and was born blind, meaning it spent the first three months of its life hiding in the den with its mother, Kristen.
The cub was born as part of an international breeding programme to try and increase population levels.
Dr Charlotte McDonald, animal director at the park, said the cub’s birth is a ‘big step forward’ in increasing Amur leopard numbers.
She said: ‘We’re thrilled the cub is taking its first steps properly outside the den. It is another big step forward for this very important baby.
‘There are approximately 120 Amur leopards left in the wild, making this cub’s survival a significant development, but even more so as it’s the only surviving cub born in Europe this year.
‘We are incredibly proud to be fulfilling our important role in the global battle to ensure the survival of this rare and beautiful species.
‘Amur leopards are one of the rarest species on the planet.
‘It truly is such an exciting time as we haven’t had a cub for a little while now.’
Members of the public won’t be able to see the cub for some time, but adorable pictures released by the park show the leopard taking its first tentative steps into the outside world, with its mother close at hand.
The sex of the cub isn’t yet known, but it’s hoped once it grows up it’ll be part of the programme to reintroduce Amur leopards to their native habitats in Russia and China.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park chief executive John Minion added: ‘This Amur leopard cub represents our commitment to the survival of this critically endangered species.
‘We are not just preserving these incredible animals, we are giving them a chance to reclaim their place in the wild.
‘When we constructed Leopard Heights here at the park, it was specifically designed as a breeding complex for these naturally shy animals, and it is just brilliant that all our hard efforts are reaping the rewards with this new cub.’
This isn’t the first time Yorkshire Wildlife Park has celebrated the birth of Amur leopards.
The park, which has home to Europe’s largest leopard sanctuary, saw two cubs born in 2015.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.